A pair of Converse sneakers, said to have been worn by Michael Jordan during his days playing for the University of North Carolina, sold at auction on Thursday (Dec. 18) for $33,387.
The Jordan memorabilia was sold through Grey Flannel Auctions, who said they were consigned by a high school teammate of the NBA legend. The winning bidder also remained anonymous.
Although the auction house are confident the shoes are authentic, saying the consigner produced documents proving his friendship with Jordan, Lindsay Reed (a former student manager on the team in the year before Jordan’s freshman year) has come forward questioning their authenticity.
“The 1981-1982 UNC basketball team did not wear blue Converse basketball shoes at any point during the… season,” Reed wrote in a letter sent to Grey Flannel Auctions, reports ESPN. “I challenge anyone to produce a photograph of a 1981-82 UNC basketball game (home or away) in which any member of the 1981-1982 UNC basketball team is wearing blue Converse shoes. No such photo exists.”
Grey Flannel Auctions is offering the winner a chance to return the shoes and get his money back if he chooses. However, they still believe they are very collectible Jordan memorabilia… and authentic.
Game-worn sneakers of Michael Jordan command big money. Last December, the iconic “Flu Game” Air Jordan 12’s were sold at auction for a record $104,765.
The Converse’s that sold this past week are said to have been worn by Jordan during his freshman year with UNC. At the time, he worn the shoes because the brand was paying coach Dean Smith about $10,000 a year to have his players wear its shoes. Converse would go on pitch Jordan when he turned pro after the 1984 Olympics, but were unable to match an offer from Nike… and the rest is history. Today, Nike’s Jordan Brand sells more than $2.5 billion in sneakers annually.